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The Seattle four-piece Kinski are veterans of organizing psychedelically muddied ambiance into something bordering on melodic coherence. Their self-released debut and Pacifico Recordings follow-up placed them squarely in the postĖSonic Youth avant-rock camp, and they maintain their willfully nontraditional song structures on this mostly instrumental debut for Sub Pop. On the discís first track, "Steveís Basement," it takes a full five minutes before the drums kick in, crashing through a resonant flying-saucer hum that hovers over buzzing guitars and whining feedback. Kinski donít write songs so much as soundscapes driven by hypnotically strummed guitars, accented with high notes that swoop down like hungry birds to provide hints of melody. The results are vaguely menacing in tone, and the infrequent vocals, as on "Rhode Island Freakout," are delivered in a cool Lower East Side drawl reminiscent of Kim Gordon. Willfully difficult albums like Airs Above Your Station always require the listener to meet them halfway, and there are certain tracks here that get overly oppressive with repeated listenings. Nonetheless, Kinskiís deft use of stark musical contrasts offers a rewarding exercise in listening for anyone whoís up to the challenge.


Issue Date: February 13 - 20, 2003
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